Cops: Pupils were aided in ‘witchcraft’ burnings

Youths who allegedly burnt two 60-year old women to death over a witchcraft claim are believed to have received the assistance from the local community, police said on Wednesday.

Police spokesperson Jabulani Mdletshe said police believed the double murder was pre-planned and that residents from the Manguzi area in northern KwaZulu-Natal had assisted a group of school pupils from Manhlenga High School to set two women alight on Monday night.

The two women — Mangubane Msaba Zungu and Qibile Thabitha Thusi — were dragged from their home by a large group of youths and residents and taken to a sports field. There they were doused with petrol and set alight.

Zungu died at the scene and Thusi later died at hospital.

”We are now working on identifying the suspects so that arrests can be made,” he said.

Police believe this was an attempt by pupils to rid their school of evil spirits.

Mdletshe said pupils had been ”acting strangely” since August 17.

”Many of the pupils started crying for no apparent reason. Some claimed they wanted meat during their crying,” he said.

He said they believed that an evil spirit had possessed them.

”There were apparently a few meetings held by the pupils to discuss the matter. At one of the meetings it was allegedly suggested that the two women may have bewitched the school,” he said.

Durban’s Organised Crime Unit has been roped in to help with the investigation.

The KwaZulu-Natal education department announced on Wednesday morning that it had sent a ward manager to the school to investigate.

”We have sent a ward manager to the school to investigate the matter. But if it is true, it’s absolutely terrible and action should be taken against those responsible,” education spokesperson Christie Naude said. — Sapa

Make sense of your world

Subscribe to Mail & Guardian at R10/mth for the first three months. Cancel anytime.

Subscribers get access to all our best journalism, subscriber-only newsletters, events and a weekly cryptic crossword.

Related stories


Already a subscriber? Sign in here


Latest stories

EFF holds gun to the heads of metro coalitions

The Economic Freedom Fighters says it will flex its power if it doesn’t get a key Johannesburg committee seat

Raise domestic workers’ minimum wage to that of other workers,...

If a proposed minimum R23 an hour for all workers goes through, it will be the first time domestic workers are treated equally

Landmark battle over River Club imperils Amazon HQ plans

If the high court in Cape Town rules for an interim interdict in the River Club project to halt building on heritage land, Amazon is likely to pull out

What will it take to halt institutional decay and defend...

Selfless leaders and engaged citizens must protect their nations from seeping into failure during their transition to democracy

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…